In early spring, the United States and other nations went into lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19. In just a few days, millions of office workers found themselves logging in from dining tables, hunching over smaller screens, sitting in uncomfortable chairs, and attending long meetings on Zoom, Teams, or Skype.
Already known for its lack of physical activity, office work became even less active. And, with gyms closed, there were few options for exercise. In April, Bechtel’s Lexi Corral, a Corporate Affairs communications representative, decided to take action and help her colleagues stay active. Lexi is a certified fitness instructor who helps motivate people to continue with their fitness goals. She began producing a series of at-home exercise videos co-workers could do without special equipment.
Lexi says her passion for fitness grew while playing collegiate volleyball for McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. After college, she wanted to continue with the fitness mentality she developed through her volleyball training. When she joined Bechtel and moved to its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, she started attending a local gym and became a regular in many fitness classes. One of her instructors encouraged her to pursue a license in fitness to share her knowledge with others. She studied for and passed the Athletics & Fitness Association of America (AFAA) exam and began teaching classes as a group fitness instructor at the gym where she began. She says developing a positive fitness mindset and progressing toward goals leads to a happier and healthier life.
“I built this series knowing there may be people in our company who are new to fitness and need introductory moves to propel their fitness journey,” she said. “This series is meant to be a way to help people get to know the basics of fitness, get comfortable with their form, and progress with their journey at their own pace.
It was a shoestring operation. She shot the short videos with an iPhone and published them in a daily COVID-19 update via email and on the company intranet.
She chose specific exercises because of their simplicity and the regions they targeted. Many moves focused on leg strength, trying to get people moving after being sedentary for most of the day. She also highlighted the importance of stretching and working out the arms. Overall, the series focused on getting colleagues moving during the long days in the early part of the pandemic.
She received a lot of positive feedback.
David Pisarcik, an engineering compliance and surveillance manager at a Bechtel project in Washington state, explained that it was a serious adjustment to telework and be sedentary for most of the day.
“In the office you walk to meetings, to the cafeteria, and take the stairs,” Pisarcik said. “While at home I was sitting in my designated telework location for 9+ hours. When Lexi’s fitness series began, I was intrigued and soon found myself eager for new videos each day and for the time in the day where I was active and participating in the exercises.
“The squat your dog challenge was my favorite to try. I wasn’t sure my dog Karl would put up with me, but he did! That was a unique exercise that got me excited to get moving for the day.”